COVID-19 has thrown a wrecking ball on to the economy in nearly every sector. From restaurants to travel to child care to sports, one by one, the combined effect of a deadly virus plus the necessity of folks to stay home to not die from the said virus has led to, without government intervention, had entire economic sectors fall off an immediate and decisive cliff. One such sector of the economy, however, that has not yet been slammed by said-cliff is one that Boomers love and agriculturally minded millennials and Generation Z kids don’t.
Golf, it appears, has been enjoying renewed support amid the pandemic after most local golf courses closed in March and April due to the pandemic. But since they started to reopen as local health officials got more information about COVID-19 and how it spreads, golf has been booming.
Golf Datatech, a, you guessed it, golf data company, found that after the Golf industry reopened in April, in June and July, tee time across the country increased by about 14 percent and 20 percent respectively. In August, it was up by over 20 percent and total rounds across the country should be up by 8 percent across the country for the entire year.
But why is it so popular? Mainly, because the sport is made for social distancing. In a pandemic where close contact, and in particular, close contact inside is considered a high-risk activity among strangers, an outdoor sport that requires great distance from one another and small groups of people in the outdoors is about as safe as it gets. It’s an anti-contact sport.
Plus, for people who haven’t seen folks from their “pod”, it could represent a “safer” way to see people. In Philadelphia in July alone, golf rounds were up by 27 percent. Add that to the fact that making the sport even safer is a fairly easy affair — by stretching out tee times, using single-rider carts or carts only among folks in a pandemic pod, and having people bring their own equipment — and it really is the perfect sport for COVID.
But for those who have concerns about golf’s destruction of green space, of the amount of water it takes to maintain golf courses, of zoning laws around golf courses, of the costs associated with even being able to participate in golf, the news might not be all that good. Our parents might be loving spending time out on the tee during COVID, but the rest of us, maybe not so much.